Taking Care of Your Flowers
You love your flowers, and would like to enjoy them for as long as possible. You’d like to keep them as fresh as the very first newly sprung snow-drop of Spring. You don’t have time to wade through acres of technical jargon or garden-speak – but at all costs, you want to avoid seeing any sign of flowers wilting on the same day your beautiful bouquet is delivered.
We’ve trimmed all that down to a useful list.
Most floral arrangements will last between 4-7 days, but may well last longer with good care. Whether it’s a single rose-bud, a small flower posy, or an abundant arrangement of lavish blossoms, a small amount of simple flower-care steps at the start will ensure that your floral display will stay fresh for longer.
Along with expert tips on how to make your beautiful flowers last longer, this article also gives solutions to the four most frequently asked questions people ask the florist.
- How do I take care of my flowers?
- How long will my bouquet last?
- How do I ensure that nourishment is delivered to my flowers?
- How do cut flowers stay alive?
Fresh Flower Care Tips – To Do List
When buying cut flowers, make sure they are dampened while being transported. A reputable florist will have the base of the flowers enclosed in water-filled cellophane.
When choosing flowers yourself, select carefully, buying blooms with firm strong petals, or buds that have not yet opened out. Check the foliage for freshness – avoid yellowing leaves, or foliage with signs of spotting. Leaves should look and feel bright and strong – any sign of wilting is a sign of age.
If you are choosing your flowers yourself, be mindful when transporting them to keep the stems moist – a good idea is to wrap the stems in damp tissue. Use strong tissue here – flimsy paper may disintegrate and leave your flowers vulnerable. Kitchen roll can be a good option here.
Make sure your vases are thoroughly washed; lingering bacteria from old flower bouquets can kill the freshest of blooms. Also, rinse any residue of soapy solutions from your vase, as chemical traces won’t do your flowers any favours.
Fill your vase with clean water, followed by whatever flower food was given along with your floral arrangement. Taking a little time to read the flower food directions is worthwhile, because instructions can and do vary, depending on the type of blossoms you have chosen.
Gently strip all leaves that might linger below the waterline. This is vital – firstly because leaves need sunlight and oxygen to survive, but more importantly, dead leaves underwater will only encourage bacterial growth.
Using a sharp scissors, trip your stems to fit your vase, and make these cuts at an angle. Trimming at a sharp angle means that your stem only ‘touches’ the vase bottom at one point and can draw up water as needed. The reason for this is that the base of your stem is made up of tiny natural vessels to draw water up into the flower.
But if the stem is damaged, or threatened, or if the stem is not at an angle and so is blocked by the bottom of the vase, then the stem actually seals itself, forming a ‘protective’ layer at its base. This means that water can’t penetrate and your flower will not thrive.
Use a sharp scissors to trim your stems. This will prevent undue bruising to the stalk, which can also prevent the flower from getting adequate nutrition.
When working with very woody stems, like Lilac, Forsythia, or Quince, your best bet is to use a pruning shears. And using luke-warm water along with fresh flower food will encourage these flowers to open.
Display your flowers in a cool spot, a bright place is ideal but make sure it’s away from direct sunlight, radiators, cookers, cooling vents or fans.
Refresh your flowers after a few days. Check the water condition. If there’s cloudiness, it’s recommended that you replace the water. Also, you can trim the stems again, just a little, one to two inches, and as before, make your cuts at a sharp angle.
What Not to Do in Flower Care
Don’t put coins into your vase. Your flowers don’t need money! And they don’t need 7 Up, or Bleach. Or Disprin. These kind of home-spun tips are popular, they might not harm your blossoms, but they don’t feed your flowers adequately, and they don’t contribute to a longer healthy flower life span.
Avoid tired looking foliage on ready made flowers arrangements, if you’re choosing flowers yourself. Even a small section of wilting leaves with discolouration and spotting does not bode well for a long lasting array of flowers.
Don’t place your beautiful flowers beside ripening fruit. Ethylene gas is released from ripe fruit – only in minuscule amounts, but enough to cause premature ageing in the freshest of flowers.
Don’t use blunt scissors to trim stalks. This can cause bruising, or splitting on your stems. If your stalks becomes damaged, water vessels become impaired, and water can’t travel up the stems to nourish the flowers.
Broken stems also cause Bacteria to multiply more quickly, which will shorten the life of your bouquet. And flowers are not immune to stress. Trauma or shock can shorten the life-span.
Location, location, location! Flowers love light, but not direct sunlight. Blooms are sensitive, prone to feeling a chill in the atmosphere, and fresh flowers don’t like strong draughts, or central heating.
Don’t let your flower water become clogged with leaves or stray petals from your blossoms. Foliage in decay will bring bacterial growth, and have a big impact on the freshness and duration of your beautiful flowers.
Dead leaves languishing in water also release the same gas as the ripening fruit above, which speeds up the bacterial growth.
Don’t mix certain flowers – for example don’t put Daffodils or Narcissi in with other floral arrangements. As soon as they’re cut, Daffodils and Narcissi emit latex from their stems, and if this latex comes in contact with the water, it shortens the life of the other flowers in that vase. Keep these flowers in a separate vase.
Alternatively, you could keep your Daffodils in a bucket of water for 12 hours, then they are safe to mix with other flowers without a negative impact. But if you choose this option, make sure you don’t cut the stems again, or the latex will be released.
How Do Cut Flowers Stay Alive?
People often ask how cut flowers stay alive. Until the time of cutting, your flower has been fed through the root system.
Nature is incredible in the sense that the flower itself deals with the shock of being cut, by creating an actual seal in the base of the stem in order to protect and hold in the water that’s already in the stem.
That’s why it’s so vital that you trim the stalk (at an angle) before placing your flowers in the new clean water. If you don’t, then the flowers can’t absorb the fresh water.
With these simple steps of care taken, your colourful flowers will now bloom with all the benefits of fresh clean water drawing up through the stem; and will also receive essential minerals from the florist pack of flower food provided to you with your bouquet.